Jack Wighton injury drama comes to light amid Souths' woeful start to NRL season

The high-profile recruit has only played one game for the Rabbitohs.

He's only played one game for Souths, but the Rabbitohs are already facing the prospect of losing Jack Wighton to injury. The high-profile recruit made his club debut for Souths last Friday night, but was unable to prevent his new team falling into an 0-3 hole to start the season.

Wighton's debut came after he was forced to serve a suspension for biting while at Canberra last year, but his addition did little to spark the Rabbitohs as they were thrashed 48-6 by the Roosters. But just one game into his Rabbitohs career, the 31-year-old Wighton is already injured.

Jack Wighton, pictured here at the end of the Rabbitohs and Roosters game.
Jack Wighton was hobbling badly at the end of the Rabbitohs and Roosters game. Image: AAP/Channel 9

The centre could be seen hobbling towards the end of the Roosters game, and was a virtual passenger in the dying stages. It has since come to light that Wighton suffered a thigh injury and was spotted with heavy strapping at training on Monday.

Both Wighton and captain Cameron Murray were on restricted duties on Monday, with Murray nursing a bursa issue in his knee. But thankfully for Souths fans, the club is denying that either player is on doubt for the Good Friday clash with the Bulldogs this weekend.

Murray failed to complete the full session but has still made his impact felt as the Rabbitohs bid to relieve the pressure on coach Jason Demetriou. The coach has reportedly been told he has three games to turn things around, or the board will consider finding someone else.

"I think the skipper summed it up at the start of training," winger Alex Johnston said on Monday. "We're only going to get through this together, stick with each other and fight for every play when we're out there and things will start sticking."


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Demetriou said the Roosters thrashing was the "lowest point" of his NRL coaching career, but Johnston has been here before. He was part of the Souths side 10 years ago that got off to a sluggish start, but finished the season with a premiership ring.

"I think it got brought up by Tommy Burgess who has been around as long as me, if not longer," Johnston said. "He said that in 2014, after our first four games, we'd only won one and we're in a similar position.

"We need to win, we want to win and that's what we've got to aim for this week. That was a pretty good year for us so it would be nice to replicate that."

Dominic Young, pictured here being tackled by Alex Johnston and Jack Wighton.
Dominic Young is tackled by Alex Johnston and Jack Wighton. (AAPIMAGE)

The 0-3 start to 2024 follows the Rabbitohs' horror capitulation at the end of 2023. They became the first team in history to miss the finals after leading the comp as late as round 11.

With uncertainty swirling around Demetriou and his future, there are rumours the Rabbitohs are looking to bring club great Sam Burgess back as head coach. Burgess left the club near the end of the 2023 season after trying (and failing) to get Demetriou to hold some of the key players to a higher standard.

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According to back-rower Jacob Host, the bad habits from 2023 haven't followed the Bunnies into 2024. "He (Demetriou) stands up and faces the critics every week and he never backs down from it," said Host, who will bring up his 100th NRL game at Accor Stadium on Friday.

"He's always got our backs, and now we have to repay the faith and show him that we've got his back. It's a different team to last year. We were disappointed with how we finished last year, but it's a new season. We had a whole pre-season training together and I think we built a lot of good things over the pre-season, but we need to start showing it on the field."

Meanwhile, Lachlan Ilias appears set to remain in NSW Cup after being axed for the Roosters game. Dean Hawkins trained at halfback on Monday and is set to retain his spot in first grade.

with AAP